When Las Vegas resident Larry Toth received his presidential primary ballot in the mail last week, he was concerned that key presidential candidates’ names had been omitted.
“I thought it was a misprint,” he said. “I thought somebody screwed up.”
Nevadans have begun receiving ballots in the mail for the Feb. 6 presidential primary, and some Republicans are shocked to see candidates like former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis absent from the ballot.
But it’s not a mistake. The candidates are not participating in the primary; rather they are partaking in the Nevada Republican Party caucuses on Feb. 8.
A 2021 law that required the state to hold presidential primaries for both major parties as long as there’s more than one candidate — coupled with the Nevada GOP’s decision to stick with its traditional way of picking a presidential nominee — resulted in the dueling nominating processes happening two days apart, sparking much confusion among voters.
Through the presidential primary, Democratic voters will get to choose which candidate they wish to see as their party’s presidential nominee in 2024. Those options include President Joe Biden and Marianne Williamson, among others.
For Republicans, however, in order for their vote to go toward awarding candidates delegates who will then go to the Republican National Convention, they must participate in the party-run caucuses. But nothing prohibits them from participating in both processes.
Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar’s focus has been to educate voters about the state-run primary. He has relied on the Nevada Republican Party to educate its voters about its upcoming caucuses, “but there’s a constant line of communication with leadership within the party to make sure … voters are as educated as possible about the process,” he said during a recent press conference.
Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald said the party has sent out mailers and text alerts to registered Republicans in the state and conducted numerous trainings on the caucuses to help educate its voters about the presidential nominating process.
Nevada is one of the key battleground states that are expected to decide this year’s presidential election. Here’s what you need to know about the Silver State’s primary and caucuses, as well as the top candidates participating in each process:
This election — the first of three state-run elections in 2024 — is separate from the June primary, where Republicans and Democrats will determine their favorite candidates for a variety of races, including congressional and state legislative seats. The Feb. 6 presidential primary is solely for the presidential race.
Counties will begin counting mail ballots as soon as they come in, although results won’t start being posted until after the polls close at 7 p.m. on Feb. 6. Mail ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day, and election departments must receive all mail ballots by 5 p.m. on the fourth day after Election Day.
While preliminary unofficial results are expected to start coming out after the polls close, official results are certified 10 days after the election when the canvass of election returns is complete.
President Joe Biden has prioritized restoring the country from the COVID-19 pandemic, providing economic relief, tackling climate change and improving the country’s foreign reputation, according to the White House.
If he gets a second term, Biden wants to finish his first-term priorities, such as banning assault weapons and cutting the cost of insulin. He also would like to see the constitutional right to an abortion restored, according to Politico.
Biden has come under fire by some in his party over his response to the Israel-Hamas war, while others have touted some of his achievements, such as passing the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Marianne Williamson, a self-help author and activist who ran for president in 2020, has run on issues of universal health care, free college and free child care in her campaign. Although she is viewed as a long-shot candidate running against the incumbent president, she has received a lot of support from younger voters.
For a complete list of Democratic presidential candidates appearing on the ballot, visit the 2024 Election Information page on the secretary of state’s website.
Nevada Republicans will see a few big names on the primary ballot, including Tim Scott and Mike Pence, who have suspended their presidential campaigns. The biggest-name candidate who is still running and will appear on the primary ballot is former South Carolina Gov. and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Because the Nevada Republican Party is responsible for choosing which election nomination process holds the most weight, and it is all-in on its caucuses, the primary results will be considered symbolic.
Haley’s campaign could use the primary as a public-opinion strategy to build momentum for her campaign. While she won’t be awarded delegates from the election, she could still receive an amount of votes that is comparable to the amount received by candidates participating in the caucuses.
She has focused her campaign on immigration and economic and foreign policy issues. She has positioned herself as an opposite to former President Donald Trump and had closed the distance between herself and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the polls.
Haley’s campaign is viewed by many as more moderate and common sense than other candidates’. While she has gone a long time avoiding controversy in her campaign, Haley received criticism recently after she failed to say slavery was a cause of the Civil War.
For both Democrats and Republicans, voters will have the option of selecting “none of these candidates” on their primary ballot.
To see a complete list of Republican presidential candidates appearing on the ballot, visit the 2024 Election Information page on the secretary of state’s website.
Nevada GOP caucuses
For Republicans, in order for their vote to go toward awarding candidates delegates who will then go to the Republican National Convention, they must participate in the party-run caucuses. But nothing prohibits them from participating in both processes.
All precinct locations will have a uniform start time of 5 p.m. on Feb. 8. Voters must show their ID to vote, and paper ballots will be used, although there will be a drop-and-go feature for people to cast their vote and leave.
Registered Republican voters can find more information about the caucuses and precinct locations near them on the Nevada GOP’s website, although some of the sites may not be set in stone.
The Nevada Republican Party expects to count and publish the results of the caucuses that same night. Most precinct locations will be open until 7:30 p.m., although some will close at 7 p.m.
Two candidates are participating in the caucuses. Others, such as Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswamy, also signed up for the caucuses but have since dropped out of the race.
Other candidates also could drop out of the race before the Nevada caucuses come around. Tuesday’s primary in New Hampshire could result in a candidate bowing out of the race.
Here is who’s slated to be in the Nevada Republican Party’s caucuses:
Ryan Binkley is the president and CEO of a business consultancy firm and is also a co-founder of Create Church, a “multiethnic, multigenerational church” in Texas, according to his campaign website. Binkley has focused his campaign on securing the southern border, implementing a seven-year economic rescue plan and restoring unity in the U.S.
Donald Trump, the 45th president of the U.S., has managed to maintain and even grow his popularity among Republican voters since his re-election loss in 2020, and in spite — or because — of his recent criminal charges that resulted in the world-famous mugshot. Trump promises to crack down on the southern border, remove government employees he deems corrupt, and implement a tariffs system on most foreign goods.
Where to find your caucus location
Republican voters must first look up their voter registration information on the secretary of state’s website to find their precinct, and then view the Google spreadsheet on the Nevada GOP’s website to determine the right location based on their precinct.